Diabetes appeared to me to be a dead issue, until I met Barrister Daniela Akpakwu, a mother of four children who had to enrol for lectures in nutrition to be able to properly nurse her diabetic husband. By “dead issue”, I mean a subject so well known to many people that it hardly needs an introduction.But when I met Mrs Akpakwu, I knew there was still a lot of work to be done in this disabling health terrain. Her husband was 44 and dying. She rose to her feet like a woman and mother. He got well.Today, he doesn’t inject himself with insulin anymore and flies from continent to continent running his business which employs almost a thousand workers. When I met him,I saluted the womanliness in Daniela.
Mrs Akpakwu has moved on from being a barrister and a nurse to an entrepreneur who produces all sort of African foods for diabetics and people who wish to control their healthy blood sugar profiles…to advocacy and public enlightenment.These days, I hardly accept invitations to make public speeches on Alternative medicine. But I accepted hers. In the lines which follow, she introduces the reader to her experience.This experience is followed by excerpts of the speech I gave at her antidiabetes campaign programme in Lagos.
Mrs Daniela Akpakwu
In 2011, my husband travelled on a business trip to one of the Asian countries and while in one of his marathon meetings he slumped and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors came back with a diagnoses of elevated sugar level of 495 … yes, we saw the signs, but we said it was not our portion. The hospital put him on a strict diet regimen coupled with insulin therapy. After two weeks, he arrived Nigeria looking ematiated and injecting himself every three hours. He was only 38 years old ,I set out to be his nutritionist and helping him out with diabetic friendly foods and also helping to change his lifestyle. After a year of consistent diet and lifestyle, I can say now that we have mastered diabetes. From our battle with diabetes,Wellnesspatron was borne to help people conquer lifestyle disease especially diabetes. The Diabetes Demystified is our yearly event that we do to open the eyes of people to the reality of diabetes and to let them know that diabetes is not a death sentence. – Femi Kusa. Excerpts.
My paternal grandfather must have died of diabetes. As a child, I learned from oral family history he died of frequent urination, a similar condition diagnosed medically as diabetes in two of his grand children who died of it in their 70s. My grandfather was a local traditional ruler over 16 confederal villages. Family historians said he was careless about where he made water during a meeting, and that his enemies poisoned the site with voodo. The story was to warn us children to keep away from eye shot whenever we had to answer the call of Mother Nature. While at almost 70, I may no longer believe this story in its entirety, I do not discountenance it either, and, so, take necessary precautions as inwardly advised, especially when I am in the village and there is no water closet nearby into which I can empty my bladder and then flush away the water from probing eyes.
We are returning to the age of energy medicine. Energy medicine shows us that these things are possible, that our bodies release energy into anything that is personal to us. Such things may be clothes, shoes, faeces or urine. The energy who connects them with us are the bridges or the waves of a broadcasting station which bring voice or picture or data signals to the receiving and decoding sets. Anyone who doubts the possibilities need only remember, especially if he or she is a Christian, the Biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the garment of Jesus. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked, perceiving that Power went out of Him.
This is a subject for another day. Real as such a scenario may be, we now live in a world in which we do not have to look over our shoulders before we answer the call of Mother Nature. Education has helped us to improve our understanding of what may be going on inside our bodies and of how to reverse dangerous trends. The prevention and treatment of diabetes and its various complications are some of those things for which we are immensely indebted to many researchers and physicians. For not only did I have a grandfather who may have been killed by diabetes, I watched two of my uncles die of it, grieved when the right foot of one of my sister’s mother-in-law was amputated, was shocked to find that the foot of one of my neighbours was amputated, and screamed when I saw one of my aunties in a wheelchair, both feet gone. But by the time the blood sugar level of someone much closer to me dangerously went beyond the ceiling, I was able to help her crash it to normal, at that time, with Chromium Picolinate. And maintain it with Turmeric. Other people with elevated blood sugar have benefitted from Orange peel, Papaya leaf and seeds, Red kidney bean pod powder, Fenugreek and Bilberry, Bitter leaf, among many others.
This is the title of a song in the BAPTIST BROADMAN HYMNAL, which we sang in high school about five years ago. I did not appreciate the fine meaning of the lines then. Those were the years of INNOCENCE and PRAISE, according to a poet. In the adult years of EXPERIENCE and PAIN, they make more sense. With respect to diabetes and other diseases it means, for me, that the Almighty Creator has not left us alone on this earth. Before we set foot on this earth, everything we would need for our upkeep and sustenance was well provided for. We did not create ourselves or our bodies. We did not create any plant either. There was a creation plan we were expected to fit into. Deviation from this plan bring harm and pain. Even the food we eat, how we eat it, like the air we breathe and the water we drink, or the way we exercise our bodies, is expected to fit into this plan under a LAW OF BALANCE which always guarantees tranquil, harmony and peace.
In diabetes, the order or balance in the diet has been upset. We only need to examine our diet and lifestyle to see where we derailed in these matters and, again, look all around us for those plants, food or herbs which, in the immeasurable Grace of the Almighty Creator, He permitted the earth to bring forth long, long before we set foot on this earth.
Some features of anti-diabetic herbs
For about 25years, I have followed studies on diabetes and anti-diabetic herbs. These studies are inevitable because of the continual rise in the growth of diabetes cases worldwide. In 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that about 347 million people worldwide were suffering from diabetes. By 2025, that is seven years from now, it projects that about 5.4 percent of the world’s population then would be affected. In Nigeria, diabetes is no longer discussed in hushed tones, as Cancer and HIV/AIDS. We once were, but as freely as mosquito bites or malaria fever.
Diabetes had led to not only the amputation of the limbs of unlucky people, but to vision impairment, kidney damage or failure and nerve damage as well, not to mention complications in metabolism disorders, blood vessel damage, heart problems and even stroke. Earlier, I spoke of people who have had their limbs or other parts of their bodies amputated as “unlucky people” because they need not experience this fate, given the fact that Mother Nature provide all around us every time, everyday many herbs, which, when eaten with meals or after meals, help us to turn blood sugar and keep diabetes away. Before I mention some of these herbs, I would like to quickly say, and briefly too, that mankind is solely responsible for the state of affairs in which the disease of diabetes occurs and thrives. In an articles which I have just written for publication in my column in December, to thank those researchers and physicians who are frontier blazers in Alternative and Complementary Medicine, I referred to a gentleman who, 100 years ago, led a campaign against the consumption of wheat bread, white bread and refined sugar, and beef. He produced whole grain bread which had no yeast, sugar or flavouring content and held public lectures to educate the public about the dangers of artificial foods. The butchers and bakers in New York invaded the lecture hall and caused mayhem. He died about five years later. In 1977, I read a book by an author who must have been one of his disciples. That book was titled: ‘’Ninety days to a Better heart’’. It spoke about how white bread and refined rice, among many of today’s leading staple foods, had become so devitalised and lacking in CHROMIUM that they were bound to lead to a diabetes epidemic in populations exposed to them over, say, 40 years. Today, the role of Chromium in the metabolism of blood sugar is better known. Chromium is like a broom which sweeps insulin, the sugar burner, through the membrane of the cell into the cell. Where there is no insulin in the diet, or there is not enough of it, blood sugar goes nowhere, as there is no “broom” to sweep it into the cell. In larger quantum than normal, it can now unleash those havocs we call the effects of diabetes.
Mother Nature is always at least one step ahead of foolish or stupid mankind. In herb it provides plant chemicals which can still aid the burning of blood sugar despite the harm done to sugar burners in food. From ethno-botanical literature, we are informed that there are about 800 herbs which exhibit anti-diabetic potential. They work in diverse ways, through different pathways to achieve the same end results … lowering blood sugar levels and preventing or reversing the damage of diabetes. Some of them heal the B cells of the Islets of Langahans in the pancreas.
These cells produce insulin in people with Type – 1 Diabetes, these cells may have been damaged or burnt out if they were made to overwork through incessant consumption of carbonhydrates without sugar burners such as insulin. Other factors, such as free radicals, chemicals, micro-organisms and parasites, may cause damage as well. The good cheer for the Type 1 diabetic is that these cells can be not only reactivated but their number can be increased as well by herbs. This is one path-way through which these herbs may reverse diabetes. Some of them assist the body to produce more insulin, another good news for Type 1 diabetes. Others improve insulin resistance, and this should gladden the hearts of Type- 2 diabetics who are unable to make insulin usher blood sugar into the cells because the cell membrane is resistant to insulin entry. Some others reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, two hallmarks of diabetes.
To prevent glucose upsurge in the blood, some anti-diabetic herbs prevent the liver from releasing glycogen (stored sugar) into the blood stream. The brain, for example, uses blood sugar for fuel. If it cannot get enough because of insulin resistance, it sends out messages to the liver for more sugar supplies. But these anti-diabetic herbs can make the liver ignore these messages while they get the cell membrane to grant blood sugar access into the cell. Besides encouraging cellular uptake of blood sugar, these herbs also prevent degradation of glycogen and glycation, a process in which excess blood sugar damages protein and fat molecules and cause metabolism disasters. Working with some of these herbs over many years, I testify that they work. As I said earlier, I will mention them briefly, in the hope that we all will undertake more investigation about their values in diabetes treatment.
Working with anti-diabetic herbs
I have worked with some anti-diabetic herbs over about 25 years. I will mention some of them, briefly.
Like many herbs, this plant has many uses, including tissue healing, tissue regeneration, antibiotic, antiviral, anti-fungal, blood cleansing etc. We are concerned with its anti-diabetic potential. I would like to present this potential as shown by Professor of Pediatric Medicine Oyeku Akibu Oyelami in his pocket book “THE MAGIC OF ALOE VERA (ISBN: 978 – 978-52513-26)” .
“Aloe Vera can be used as drugs or food supplement in diabetics. Diabetics patients who take Aloe Vera (a tongue daily) for three months experiences a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels. They also exhibit lower cholesterol levels. Diabetics are also likely to benefit strongly from Aloe Vera’s blood enhancement. Since Aloe Vera ash is alkaline, Aloe reverse sludge blood and boosts circulation to the extremities, diabetics suffering from peripherals neuropathy (manifest in form of numbing hands and feet) are likely to benefit strongly from Aloe Vera supplements. Extracts of Aloe gel increases glucose tolerance in both normal and diabetic rats and studies have shown that Aloe Vera sap taken for four to 14 weeks showed significant hypoglycemic effects both clinically and experimentally”.
Professor Oyelami suggested that, in some cases, Aloe Vera lowered blood pressure of diabetics and offered respite in some kidney and vision challenged cases.
It amazes many people when I say Orange peel, often thrown away, is good medicine for the skin, digestive system, immune system e.t.c and for diabetes. A few years ago, I met a woman at a health seminar organised at the Army Cantonment at Oshodi, Lagos, for retired officers of Nigeria’s armed forces. Her fasting blood sugar was heading for 500mg/dl. She was thin and weak and a regular visitor to the military hospital, Yaba, Lagos. She was a Doubting Thomas for some months until events came to her rescue. Within one week of being on a proprietary Orange Peel powder product, she lost 125 mg/dl. There are many people all over Nigeria today who employ Orange peel to lower their blood sugar everyday.
Many people try to make their own Orange Peel at home, but end up growing fungi on them.
We need entrepreneurs here who would provide the market with factory made, freeze-dried and micronised orange peel powder. Overseas, companies, which make them in little barrels and dispense in little measures for the retail markets, have large plantations of orange tree. After the orange is harvested for fruit juice, the seeds for new plantations, the fruit sac for bioflavonoids, the peel is factory made into powder. I learned about Orange peel as medicine from an old, old book, MIRACLE MEDICINE FOODS, by Rex Adams, who said it was a great anti-inflamatry good for cough, asthema and other respiratory problems. We now know it addresses blood sugar problems, makes the skin to glow and the heir to grow long, thick and shiny.
Of its many beneficial uses, I go more for promotion of breast milk in lactating mothers, revival of the deadened senses of taste and smell, drying of mucus of phlegm-build up, and elevated blood sugar. As a flavouring agent, Fenugreek is an ingredient in Indian curry powder. It helps to unblock the ducks of salivary glands blocked by mucus, thus feeling the sense of taste, for example. As for its value as an anti-diabetic herb, H.K. Bakhru, a well respected author of books on healing (foods that heal, vitamins that heal) says in herbs that heal :
“Fenugreek seeds can also be taken for diabetes. The normal dosage is two teaspoons of powder seeds taken daily in broth or milk. Alternatively, they may be soaked in a cup of water at night and the water taken in the morning”.
When I first heard of cilantro, I though we were out of this planet. It was, as it still is, eulogised as one of the best herbs for kidney troubles. Later, I learned it also went by the English name CORRIANDER. Later, I learned this was the vegetable my forefathers in Southwesthern Nigeria, home of the Yorubas, call efo Ebolo (Ebolo – r: d: d: vegetable). Mrs. Sola Sowemimo, an organic farming crusader (Ope farms) in Lagos, has begun the revival of interest in this vegetable by growing it for regular consumption. At KUSA GREEN PASTURE HERBS, we offer the seed powder.
Ethro – botanical literature suggests that Corriander improves the activity and number of B-cells of the lslets of Langerhans in the pancreas. This makes them improve the production of insulin. In a study, encapsulated coriander seed powder was given to 50 human subjects for six weeks. Their fasting blood sugar came down. So, did total cholesterol level. HDL (Higher Density Lipoprotein), the good cholesterol appreciated in ratio against LDL (Lower Density Lipoprotein), the bad cholesterol. The risk of atherosclerosis declined. This was good news, indeed. Incidentally, Efo-Ebolo was the special vegetable the Yorubas of old ate with pounded yam. Modern Yoruba people gradually turned away from this vegetable claiming the taste is offensive. Maybe they will now return to it in cumy for flavouring, capsules, tinctures or even as a fluid extract for kidney disease. Thanks, Ope Farms for leading us back to our roots.
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